The ruling on masturbation and its effect on one’s fast

بســـم اللــه الرحــمــن الـرحـــيــم

▪️The ruling on masturbation and its effect on one’s fast▪️

Our Shaykh, Muhammad ibn Hizaam -may Allaah preserve him- was asked the following question:

? Question:

What is the ruling on masturbating during ramadhaan, and is expiation necessary?

? Answer:

First of all: this act of Masturbation – commonly referred to by the people of knowledge as ‘Al-istimnaa’ i.e. An orgasm experienced by men and women due to self-stimulation- is an impermissible act; Allaah -The Mighty and Majestic- said:

{وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ لِفُرُوجِهِمْ حَافِظُونَ}

And those who guard their chastity (i.e. private parts, from illegal sexual acts)

{إِلَّا عَلَىٰ أَزْوَاجِهِمْ أَوْ مَا مَلَكَتْ أَيْمَانُهُمْ فَإِنَّهُمْ غَيْرُ مَلُومِينَ}

Except from their wives or (the captives and slaves) that their right hands possess, for then, they are free from blame;

فَمَنِ ابْتَغَىٰ وَرَاءَ ذَٰلِكَ فَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْعَادُونَ}

But whoever seeks beyond that, then those are the transgressors;

[Suratul Mu’minoon: 5-7]

This verses clearly prove that this act is forbidden.

Firstly, the saying of Allaah:

{فإنهم غير ملومين}

“they are free from blame”, shows that whoever seeks to satisfy his desires through other than what Allaah has made permissible (i.e wife, or what his right hand possesses) then he is blameworthy.

Similarly, His saying:

{فأولئك هم العادون}

“those are the transgressors”, shows that he has transgressed the boundaries set by Allaah by seeking to fulfill his desires through other than his wife or what his right hand possesses. So this type of person is a transgressor, and every transgressor is a wrongdoing, oppressive individual, as Allaah -The Mighty and Majestic- said:

{ومن يتعد حدود الله فأولئك هم الظالمون}

“And whoever transgresses the limits ordained by Allaah, then such are the Zalimun (wrong-doers, etc.)” [Suratul baqarah: 229]

Thus, this act is forbidden and it is obligatory for one to refrain from it.

Moreover, the prophet ﷺ instructed the Companions with fasting (as a means to suppress desire), so if masturbation was permissible he ﷺ would have instructed them with that instead; (the prophet ﷺ said):

((يا معشر الشباب، من استطاع منكم الباءة فليتزوج؛ فإنه أغض للبصر وأحصن للفرج، ومن لم يستطع فعليه بالصوم؛ فإنه له وجاء))

“O young men, whoever amongst you is able to marry then let him do so, because it will help him lower his gaze and guard his chastity, but whoever is not able to do so should fast, for it is a means of controlling the sexual desire”

So the correct opinion is that this act is forbidden. As for what has come from some of the Salaf that, ‘masturbation is better than committing adultery’, then this does not mean they saw masturbation as being permissible, but any case, consideration is given to the Islamic evidences – not the opinion of those who say this.

Furthermore, if a man has an orgasm at the hand of his wife (and vice versa), then this is not called masturbation (Istimnaa).

Moreover, all the hadeeth reports which have come concerning the impermissibililty of ‘arousing oneself sexually using the hand’ are all extremely weak, such as the report which mentions that, ‘whoever pleasures himself sexually using the hand will come on the day of judgment in such and such a state’; the reports in this regard are all weak, nothing is authentic.

As far as performing this act during Ramadhaan then the strongest opinion is that this invalidates the fast, and all that’s upon them is to repent and seek forgiveness from Allaah and to return back to Him (with obedience); making up for this by fasting alternative days -whether it be ten days or even a whole year- will not atone for that day’s fast wherein he engaged in this act. So the only thing that will be of benefit to him is repentance, seeking forgiveness and returning back to Allaah -The Mighty and Majestic- with obedience, because he has violated the sanctity of that day.